Ohio ADDL March 2018 Newsletter


Ohio Department of Agriculture   -   MARCH 2018

In this issue

Chronic Wasting Disease

- Equine Herpes virus outbreak

- Vet-LIRN and CDC visit ADDL

Taxus cuspidata exposure


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Equine Herpes Virus

Dr. Yan Zhang, DVM, PhD, DACVM, ADDL Virology Section Head 


The ADDL has confirmed five positive cases of Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV-1) at different locations in Ohio. EHV-1 causes several maladies, including respiratory disease and occasionally neurological disease known as equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). Clinical signs include depression, anorexia, nasal discharges and fever. Horses with EHM may show incoordination, hind limb weakness, paralysis and even death. The disease is spread by horses infected with virus which may or may not show clinical signs. Transmission may occur through direct and indirect contact. Suspect cases are identified based on history and clinical signs, and diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory testing. Laboratory tests include virus isolation, serological assays and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR is currently the most commonly used method. Nasal swab samples are collected in viral transport medium and shipped on ice to ADDL. Results will be available within 24 hours after the samples are received. Please contact the ADDL at 614-728-6220 for more information.


ADDL Hosts FDA and CDC Outbreak Response Leaders

Dr. Bev Byrum, DVM, PhD, ADDL Laboratory Director 


Dr. Renate Reimschuessel, FDA Center of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Investigation Response Network (Vet-LIRN) Program Coordinator and Dr. Megin Nichols, CDC Enteric Zoonotic Activity Lead, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Program met with ADDL and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) lab staff to discuss joint zoonotic investigations in Ohio and the United States. The ADDL and ODH labs, which are co-located on the Ohio Department of Agriculture campus, have partnered in multi-state zoonotic outbreak investigations since 1999. Recent successful joint investigations of Ohio labs, FDA Vet-LIRN and CDC working together include the Campylobacter jejuni outbreak associated with pet stores, Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes in raw pet food and Salmonella infantis in dry pet food. The use of next generation sequencing and the FDA GenomeTrakr network are powerful tools to help state and federal agencies more quickly identify zoonotic outbreaks associated with food, feed, animals and people. The ADDL is one of only 13 labs in the world and one of only 2 veterinary diagnostic labs in the US that are permitted to upload analyzed data into the NIH NCBI web site. Work is expanding to include the characterization of antimicrobial resistance patterns among zoonotic pathogens. 


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L to R: Yan Zhang (ADDL Virology Section Head), Melanie Prarat (ADDL Virology Researcher), Jeff Hayes (ADDL Pathology Section Head), Jing Cui (ADDL Bacteriology Section Head), Amber Singh (ODH Public Health Veterinarian), Martha Montgomery (CDC EIS), Renate Reimschuessel (FDA Vet-LIRN), Bev Byrum (ADDL Laboratory Director), Megin Nichols (CDC Enteric Zoonoses Activity Lead), Yamir Rosa (CPL Microbiology Section Head)


Chronic Wasting Disease Confirmed in Captive White-Tailed Deer

Dr. Jeff Hayes, MS, DVM, ADDL Pathology Section Head 


A white-tailed deer buck at a hunting preserve in Guernsey County became the third deer to be confirmed positive by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) through surveillance testing at the ADDL. The deer was determined to have arrived at the preserve from a breeding herd in Holmes County the week before it was killed. The Holmes County herd was depopulated in February 2018 and two additional deer in the herd of 93 were confirmed by NVSL as being infected with the CWD prion agent, PrP-res. Animal movements into and from this breeding herd are still under investigation. The ADDL identified CWD-positive white-tailed deer from two other captive deer premises, one each in 2014 and 2015. ADDL has conducted immunohistochemistry surveillance testing for CWD in captive and wild deer in Ohio since 2002, examining 2,000-3,000 deer per year in that time frame. CWD has never been detected in wild white-tailed deer in Ohio to date.


Veterinarians Urged to Educate Clients About Taxus Trimming Dangers

Dr. Diane Gerken, DVM, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University


Every year in Ohio, large animals die needlessly from Taxus cuspidata exposure. Veterinarians have long known how toxic the plant trimmings are to animals that forage but not all of the public is aware of this. The most likely time for people to dispose of their trimmed landscape greenery is in early spring – March and April so education of the public to the dangers is appropriate this time of the year. Typically, well meaning individuals dispose of their trimmings by “throwing them over the fence into the pasture”. Exposure then occurs. One or two mouthfuls of Taxus trimmings is typically all that is required to cause cardiac conduction abnormalities so severe that death occurs within 10-60 minutes after consumption.


Often, Taxus leaflets are still present in the mouth in a dead animal. Upon necropsy, Taxus plant fragments are found in esophagus, stomach or gastrointestinal contents sufficiently undigested that the cause of death is apparent in the field. There is no antidote for the toxic constituents in Taxus so prevention is important.


Of course, consumption of Taxus by large animals results in death any time of the year. However, early spring is a more likely time for this to occur because pastures are not yet lush and supplement hay is not available- so animals are attracted to the very green trimmings. 


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ADDL Presentation at 2018 Midwest Veterinary Conference

Dr. Jeff Hayes presented an update of  animal disease diagnoses confirmed at the ADDL called, “What’s In Your Backyard,” covering more than 20 zoonotic diseases diagnosed in various animal species examined in the Pathology, Bacteriology and Virology Sections (Cases included Campylobacter jejuni and Brucella canis in dogs; toxoplasmosis in a kitten and in aborted sheep and goat fetuses; parapox viruses in cattle, sheep and goats; as well as cases of west Nile virus in horses; Ixodes scapularis ticks in white-tailed deer and a horse; salmonellosis causing diphtheritic enteritis and meningoencephalitis in a ball python; and tularemia in a gray fox with concurrent distemper infection.)


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